Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Missed Power-Play Opportunities Extend BC’s Winless Streak to Five Games

As Boston College men’s hockey visited No. 20 Northeastern on Tuesday for a crosstown Hockey East matchup, BC had not won a game in its last four matchups. Four games before Tuesday’s matchup the Eagles boasted a 9–6–4 record and were ranked No. 18 in the nation.  

The Eagles, however, failed to reverse their dry spell, and the Huskies extended that streak to five games. 

After recording a 2–1 loss to Northeastern (13–9–3, 11–4–2 Hockey East) in the Huskies’ home barn on Tuesday, BC (9–10–5, 5–7–4) now dips below .500 on the season. 

Entering the contest, BC ranked second in Hockey East and ninth in the nation in power-play conversion percentage at 25.6 percent. The Eagles failed to score on any of their five power plays on Tuesday. 

“We did a lot of things right, just like we did in the BU game,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “But you still, you got to do more things right. Especially finish our chances. You know, thought we had a lot of good looks at the net.”

A hooking penalty on Northeastern’s Jeremie Bucheler gave BC its first power play of the night 5:32 into the game. Despite taking nine shots with a man up, Husky goaltender Devon Levi rejected every puck BC sent his way.  

“I know Levi is an excellent goalie, probably one of the very top goalies in the country, if not the top goalie,” Brown said. “So we know we have to get more traffic in front of him and more pucks on him, and we did that for stretches, but if you don’t finish, then it’s hard to win games if you only score one.”

Just 30 seconds after the Huskies killed the first penalty, an interference call on Aidan McDonough provided BC with its second power-play opportunity within the first 10 minutes of play. 

The Eagles moved the puck smoothly from stick to stick, rattling off another eight shots—the closest of which came from Cutter Gauthier, who rang a shot off the pipe. Despite another barrage of shots, Levi still refused to let one in, keeping the game tied at 0–0.  

“It is a game of inches,” Brown said. “Like I said, you know, I have to talk to the power play and reinforce that they’re doing the right things. Then we just have to shoot a little better, be a little hungrier around the net, but when you’re creating chances, some are gonna go in, soon.” 

The scoreless affair ended with 4:13 left in the first frame. Northeastern sent the puck into the Eagles’ defensive zone, and a Matt Choupani pass slipped through the legs of BC’s Mitch Andres, setting the puck up for Liam Walsh who missed a close shot. But Choupani found the rebound and shoved it past Mitch Benson to put the Huskies up 1–0. 

BC fired off seven more shots in the period for a total of 24, but entered the second trailing by one.

Less than two minutes into the second frame, the Eagles finally solved their scoring woes. 

Connor Joyce took possession of the puck from behind the Huskies’ net and wheeled around to the slot, throwing the puck toward Levi. But the shot hit Christian O’Neill on its journey, and he found himself with his third goal of the season, tying the game 1–1. 

BC’s third power play came nearly four minutes into the second period, but the Eagles failed to find high quality shots. 

“The first two power plays we had great looks,” Brown said. “We had some great chances. The third power play and the fourth power play, not as much. We didn’t get set up and have the tempo in the zone that we did the first two. When you create great chances, you got to finish on some of them.”

The third frame started with another early goal. Northeastern’s Jakov Novak skated through BC defensemen Cade Alami and Lukas Gustafsson and flipped the puck over Benson to put the Huskies up 2–1 with 17:15 left to play. 

BC sent six shots on Levi in the third period, but he refused to let the Eagles even up the game.  

With 3:07 remaining, officials sent Marshall Warren to the box for hooking—the first penalty of the game for BC. While the Eagles killed Northeastern’s first power play, just 14 seconds later Gustafsson recorded a penalty, and BC was shorthanded for the rest of the game. 

Gustafsson’s late penalty forced Benson to stay on the ice as the Huskies continued to press BC’s goal. The Eagles failed to take a shot to tie the game as time expired. 

“Gus has to really watch himself there,” Brown said. “We did a great job of staying out of the box and moving our feet, the whole game right until the end. So you know, those are critical. Every penalty is critical.”

February 1, 2023